Monday, March 29, 2010

As Mattie and I were entering the park trail, a homeless man stomped up from behind us. Dressed in a tattered navy sweatshirt with olive colored rubber knee-high boots. He was in a hurry and carried a bundle under one arm. His face was narrow with a greying, pointy beard. Thick glasses with big 80's style frames solidly attached atop his nose. I was startled at how quickly he was at our backs.  I turned to face him as he approched and guided Mattie to the grass off the trail head. He never looked up or even acknowledged our presence despite passing within inches of my body. I let him pass. Knowing it is not safe to be a woman alone on a trail in the woods in the first place, I turned and took another path leading in the opposite direction as he was heading.

It is an uphill trek taking that path. At the top of the hill is a bench with a boulder inscribed with the founder of the nature area. The name I've read numerous times but what it is, I don't recall. So we then head downhill. There is a can take a left or right. We go right because I know this part of the trail and after some turns and hills you come to a clearing. On top of the highest part of the park is a shelter with picnic tables and benches in the lawn. That is were I want to go. As we approach the crossroads I hear footsteps. Heavy stomping footsteps...I turn and it is this guy again. In my head I'm thinking "Oh my God, this is the most secluded part of the woods that I know of and if he wants to kill me or could be done here". I slow down and stop and let Mattie go into the woods off the path a little. I again turn to face him...not wanting him to be unseen. This way also, I think I will appear unafraid and bold...not an easy target. Again he gets inches away...I am looking right at him...he passes and as I say "Morning", he raises his arm with hand waving in a shoo-ing manner as if to shield himself from me so I wouldn't look at him. Quickly he passed.

It was a weird encounter. And I wasn't scared of him any longer. After that we passed him two more times. Was he just looking for a place to live for a few days? Who knows. On the way out of the woods I noticed quite a few women walking alone with their dogs like me. I passed be two of them as the homeless man was also leaving the park...right behind me. The looks on some of the woman's faces were the look I had in my heart when I was scared and alone in the woods with him. You could see the look of "Oh my God" in their faces.

This structure was seen beyond the trail in the woods...was this were the stomping man went?

Time to put away those winter boots!!!!

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